Area communities selected for wood heat pilot project
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
Residential and businesses property owners in Sioux Lookout, Hudson and Frenchman’s Head may be eligible for a rebate to switch or supplement their oil or propane heating systems with wood, or replace older wood heat appliances with new, more efficient ones.
The three communities, collectively, have been selected as one of the Government of Ontario modern wood heat pilot project communities.
The program, launched by the Green Ontario Fund (GreenON), is funded by Ontario’s carbon market.
“The program will provide rebate funds for those without access to natural gas, that rely solely on a mix of wood, propane, and fuel oil to heat homes and applicable commercial buildings,” a press release issued by The Municipality of Sioux Lookout stated.
“The expected result of this program is a reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction of air contaminants, reduction of heating costs for program participants, and improved safety for homes now heated with older wood heat systems. The program is also expected to help encourage growth of local and regional economic activity related to biomass,” the press release further explained.
“Residents interested in replacing an old, uncertified wood stove, a propane or oil furnace and/or boiler with a new CSA/EPA-compliant woodstove, wood pellet stove, modern cordwood or wood pellet heating furnace or boiler are encouraged to contact the development services department to obtain an information package and rebate application form. Further information, workshops, and tradeshows will be occurring throughout the year to assist the public in making the decision to switch to new high-efficiency cordwood or wood pellet heat appliances,” the municipality shared.
“We’ve got this reference guide which gives you all the steps,” explained Meredith Culham, community development coordinator, development services department.
“Someone can come in and chat with me or Jody (Brinkman, chief building official) and we can provide them with the information. We can help them figure out if they’re eligible or not and walk them through the steps,” she stated.
Information on the program is available on the municipal website, www.siouxlookout.ca, by searching modern wood heating pilot program.
Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance commented on the anticipated local benefits of the program. “With the Municipality of Sioux Lookout undertaking the development of a municipal energy plan, we are pleased that we have been selected for the province’s first modern wood heat pilot program. Many residents in our community rely heavily on wood heat. Natural gas is not available. The financial incentives surrounding this program will provide residents and commercial businesses the opportunity to reduce energy costs, remove health and safety risks, while also helping to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse emissions.”
Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, commented, “Ontario is committed to supporting initiatives in northern, rural, and Indigenous communities that fight climate change and implement actions under our climate change action plan. The modern wood heat pilot project in Sioux Lookout is a great example of how Ontario’s carbon market proceeds are being used to help people save on heating costs, create new jobs, and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
The pilot program runs from May 1, 2018 - December 2019, or until all funding is used. The program operates on a first come, first served basis with one rebate per customer.